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that martin fletcher is in malta, where over 300 passengers on board a ferry trapped spent 60 hours on the ferry. live picture there's. 167 americans on there, 180 other nationals from other nations around the world that were able to leave libya on board this ferry that just docked moments ago in malta. i want to talk to you, though, as we watch all of these things unfold concerning libya. the president meeting today with the nation's governors. talk about what came out of that meeting, as certainly wisconsin would be a hot topic there. >> reporter: you would have thought so. but when the governors, the democratic governors, a dwindling number after the november elections, came out behind me in the white house driveway all they wanted to emphasize the fact they were talking about jobs. they wanted to talk about federal infrastructure, money on roads, bridges, what have you, coming to their states, trying to stipulamulate their economy. obviously budget shortfalls a big issue. they insisted there was no discussion about the situation in çwisconsin, something they called a distracti
standing by in malta. ivan, don't go anywhere. this is going to be continuing coverage here on cnn. thanks for watching. my colleague brooke baldwin in washington takes away the coverage now. >>> don lemon, thank you. hello, everyone. i'm brooke baldwin here live in washington. we'll continue watching this breaking story unfolding. there on malta, this island, some 250 miles offshore of libya, these are the first live pictures of this ferry that the state department had chartered. there are about 300 or so passengers on board, 168 of them americans. this thing had been pushed back not just one but two days because of bad weather and rough seas. i know we have ivan watson standing by with me in malta to walk through this occasion. ivan, just walk me through. this is so, so significant for these people on board who have been very desperately trying to leave. >> reporter: that's right. you know, brooke, we've been in touch with one 23-year-old american professional basketball player. he had just arrived in libya, in tripoli, three weeks before the chaos erupted. he was going to play for the p
and to be arriving here in malta in the next couple of hours. >> all right. matter of the technical problems, we are glad to have you there. we're going to continue to follow this story. get some video in from the scene in tripoli when he spoke moments ago and also, protesters, they're saying they're being attacked there and americans on their way to safer shores, all of that should happen within the next few hours. in the meantime, closer to home now and i'm reminded of the line about laws and sausages. you may like both, but don't really want to see them being made. here's how a so-called budget repair bill got passed overnight. >> all in favor, say i, the yays have it. the asemily is adjourned. >> the people you see in red are democrats who had been holding a floor and stalling a vote for 61 straight hours. it took just seconds for republicans to act. most dems were out of the chamber. but get this. it's all for nothing unless and until the wisconsin senate votes, which can happen so long as all the democratic senators are in illinois. that cannot happen. so long as they're in illinois. now,
on a charter flight and a ferry boat. tonight most of them are there in malta. and for the first time we have someone inside tripoli in libya tonight, so we begin with the reporting of nbc's bill neely. >> reporter: in the heart of his capital, a dictator defiant. moammar gadhafi, ever the showman, determined to rally what's left of his support. it's the first time he's dared take to the streets since the rebellion against him began. here he was in green square, where his men had killed protesters, threatening more violence. i will open my arsenal, he told them. you'll have all the guns you need. the time has come, libya will become a red flame. they are words that spell more trouble. and there was trouble enough today. not far from where he spoke, the sound of gunfire. his people scattering. the video is shaky, the crackdown is not. across tripoli, there were many reports of police or men in plainclothes confronting demonstrators. they say many died, but it's impossible to confirm how many. the clashes began as hundreds of thousands left friday prayers in mosques across tripoli. there had be
arriving and there it is, in malta, after stranded in tripoli for days. live pictures that have begun to feed, we are waiting for the americans to get off the ferry. and now, coverage, with the latest from washington, dc from james, but first, jonathan hunt is live streaming from tunisia where thousands are trying to escape. the dictator seems to be out of touch and murdering his people and his right hand men are suggesting he could use chemical and biological weapons on his people. we have reached a whole new level. >>jonathan: indeed, and qaddafi's appearance on the streets of tripoli was meant to do two things: first, to tell the supporters he is in control in the capital, whether that is a reality or not, does not matter. he wants to portray that image to his supporters who he wants to do the second thing: continue the fight against the anti-government protesters. we have seen violence today in many towns from the east to the west of libya and that violence again, being perpetrated by the militias and mercenaries and the army, members who remain loyal to qaddafi. in the west of li
will be arriving in malta in just a few hours. they're aboard a chartered ferry. bad weather kept them in port for several days. cnn talked with an american just out of libya. he had to navigate the chaos at the airport. >> we pretty much had to push and shove our way through, you know, thousands of people, and myself and two of my colleagues finally made it after about three hours of pushing, shoving and kicking. >> the u.s. embassy in libya says the government will evacuate americans from tripoli by air and they're going to istanbul, turkey. this will be the first american evacuations by air since the unrest began nine days ago. >>> switzerland is freezing moammar gadhafi's bank accounts and other property holdings. britain is reportedly going to do the same. the u.s. treasure department has told american banks to watch for suspicious transactions. gadhafi's son says a financial noose will not force his family out. >> we have plan a, plan b, plan c. plan a is to live and die in libya. plan b is to live and die in libya. plan c is to live and die in libya. [ chanting ] >>> in iraq today, anot
americans safe at last from the violence in libya. a charter ferry just arrived in malta carrying evacuees and the horror stories about move moammar gadhafi's crackdown. >>> the libyan leader is trying to show the world he's still in charge, even as the united states moves to slap him with some new sanctions. how much farther might the obama administration go to avoid more bloodshed, and a school district votes to fight almost every single teacher, 2,000 and all. drastic situations in the budget war. that and more in "the situation room." >>> right now we're getting new -- a new view into the protests and the violence in libya. several hundred people get off that u.s.-chartered ferry that just docked in malta a little while ago. a chartered aircraft also left libya today bound for turkey with americans on board. stand by for some of the terrifying stories they are now telling all of us. another late development, the united states says it's moving forward with sanctions against moammar gadhafi's regime. the u.s. embassy in libya already has been closed. a defiant gadhafi appearing in tripol
fight plaque. niaspan. >>> the "news nation" is following breakings in out of malta, where within this hour a u.s. chartered ferry calling -- carrying more than 160 americans fleeing is expected to arrive. rough satisfied trapped the ferry at a libyan port for three days. tens of thousands still stuck in libya hoping for an escape. leader moammar gadhafi's regime. a u.s. evacuation plan preparing fly out of the country those people still stuck. martin fletcher live from malta. we might see the ferry arrive in the next 40 minutes? >> reporter: yeah, that's right, tamron. in about 45 minutes, behind me, the ferry's going to be arriving with 167 americans and on the same ferry 118 nationals from other countries, too. they're going to be tired and exhausted but very happy to have left the violence of libya behind. they've been on the boat for 2 1/2 days. they got on boat wednesday morning, 9:00 local time, and arriving 60 hours later. high winds and strong seas stopped several times. they are landing here now. there was some concern they could potentially be in a dangerous situation b
, departed this morning expected to arrive in malta later this afternoon. >>> plus, it was well after midnight, a late night, early morning in wisconsin. democrats in the state assembly cry foul after republicans vote to pass the bill taking away union rights. what comes next? what say you, state senate? >>> did the 2012 presidential race finally begin? mike huckabee attacks mitt romney over health care and romney doesn't duck, he doubles down. it's february 25, 2011. i'm pretty excited about this. let's bring it on. >> good morning, everyone. i'm savannah guthrie. also this morning, it's oscar weekend so it's all aboáa"át fashion and i guess the movies, too. >> they do do something about movies. >> i think there are about 45 movies nominated this year. we're going to have a live report from the red carpet coming up. we're going to get into that, but first let's get into the news and the rundown begins in wisconsin. republicans in the state assembly passed that union bill and it happened before democrats appeared to know what hit them. around 1:00 in the morning while protestors wer
ferry many of the americans along with some other foreigners from the libyan capital of tripoli to malta, an island in the mediterranean. the trip delayed by high seas and huge swells out on the water. our martin fletcher is there tonight. martin, good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. that plan has not been very successful at the moment. there's 167 americans on the boat, 118 nationals from other countries and they're waiting for the weather to change. now, conditions on the boat must be pretty bad. they have been waiting on the boat for about 40 hours. it's a 200-foot catamaran chartered by the american government. there are no beds on board but we're told they are getting food and water. nobody has been able to get through to them on the boat to ask the americans how they're doing but family members have told nbc news that they're very frustrated with the lack of information from the state department. making the problem greater is americans have not been able to get permission to land charter planes at tripoli airport to ferry people out by air. other nations have had more success. the
to get americans and other foreigners out goes on. martin fletcher is in malta and has that part of the story for us, good even >> reporter: good evening. it is an all-out effort to get the last of the americans out of ing. libya. those who want to go tonight is flying a plane out to bring 150 people to land here in malta. it isn't clear how many americans will be onboard but the british raised the stakes. in the rescue that stephanie referred to in the southern deserts of libya. two planes flew there to take out in several locations citizens who weren't able to make it to the ports or airports. reportedly they had fighters onboard to secure the area. while the evacuees were boarding the planes. they flew to malta here today and they arrived tired here but happy. >> that sounds like a pretty dicey rescue mission. do we have more details on how risky it might have been, martin? >> reporter: well, they had to fly through libyan air. we don't know the clear details. but they had to fly through libyan air space. he was sending planes to bomb his own people, so they are in their own s
from tripoli to safety in the tiny nation of malta. you can see up here video of that ferry coming into the dock in malta carrying those people, again, 183 of them americans. ziad ka sad is a libyan-american construction worker. he's from chicago. we spoke by telephone just after the ferry reached the dock, and he described the horror, the things saw in tripoli's green square. >> shooting everywhere. like even on the walls pl just like that to have fun. >> when you say -- >> to hurt the people. to terrorize people. >> and who was doing the shooting? were they in army uniforms? were they in plain clothes? >> no, they were in plain clothes, but they held like photos of gadhafi. they were pro government. for sure like more than 100 people they were shooting. >> what is your sense now of what will happen in libya? >> i think it will get uglier. after i saw gadhafi's speech. it's not getting better at all. it's either him or the people. >> cnn's ivan watson was at the pier when that ferry arrived and joins us now with more on that dramatic trip and some of the new details we're learning
americans to malta today. that's an island just south of italy. the state department says libya would not allow the u.s. to land charter flights for the evacuations. and two libyan air force pilots have deliberating crashed their fighter jet in the desert. a libyan news report says the crew refused orders to bomb protesters in the city of benghazi. the pilots parachuted to safety according to the website. protesters smashed posters of moammar gadhafi a couple of nights ago in tripoli, but such a scene would be doubtful today. that is because witnesses say a sense of terror grips the city with gadhafi supporters hunting down protesters with machetes. one libyan had a defiant challenge for gadhafi when he spoke with cnn. >> i don't want tose a bad word, but this animal that we don't like. we are united. he needs to show his face and challenge to tell him i'm not afraid of you. there is nothing you can do to me. i am proud. i am a free man now. at last i'm a free man. >>> protesters in yemen return to the streets today following a deadly night of violence. an opposition lawmakers say loy
it safely to malta. its passengers telling their stories. and abc's miguel marquez was there when it docked. miguel? >> reporter: diane, that ferry is finally here in malta. 200 americans finally out of harm's way. it was a brutal three-day wait in that port in libya. and then, a very horrendous eight-hour crossing in very rough seas. but they are out of the war zone and one step closer to home. >> feel good, man. good to be in malta. >> tripoli was very chaotic. gun fire, startled about 4:00 in the afternoon, explosions, rioting. >> we did hear a lot of gunshots and a lot of protesting going on. >> reporter: what do you want to tell your family right now? >> that i'm safe, i'm safe. >> reporter: a boat will return to tripoli tonight, open to all comers. any company that wants its employees out can get them on that boat. the exodus from libya is picking up pace. diane? >> miguel marquez in malta tonight. >>> and now, back here at home, and the carnival ride of weather around the country. snow coming to san francisco? not seen in 35 years. and wind in the east that could knock you down, as l
, for instance, are trying to escape the violence in libya on a boat right now to malta for escape there for an evacuation and, again, this is a nation that is in the middle of just a brink of civil war. the rebels are trying to take more and more cities. the united nations now is condemning the violence by libyan forces on civilians, the human rights forum said it wants to launch an international inquiry to investigate the atrocities. they said they are crimes against humanity. we're watching for the developments here on this front whether the international community might take action. nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel is in bin ghazi, libya right now. the video we just saw there from libya from moammar gadhafi coming out to the crowds, how much support does he still maintain? >> well, he is still able to draw crowds in tripoli. he was speaking in green square blowing kisses to the crowds saying gadhafi is one of you and the people should joy and rejoice. a very different kind of demonstration here in benghazi, the second largest city in all of libya, and there were,
by air. nbc's martin fletcher is live in malta for us. and martin, most of the americans who want to leave libya have already left by now, isn't that correct? >> reporter: yeah that seems to be the case, thomas. there was a story that 90 americans still have not left. the state department confirmed that, but most seem to have left. there was a flight last night by accidental petroleum. they left from tripoli with only one american aboard. so, that suggests that almost all of the americans who want to leave have left. there is another about 3,000 americans, duel nationality libyan americans, still in libya, but apparently show no signs of wanting to leave. mine whi meanwhile, the exodus of other nationalities is proceeding indeed. this cruise liner behind me just arrived 4 1/2 hours ago. it brought 2,000 workers from the oil fields and the construction industry in libya here to malta, five nationalitities -- brazilians, south koreans and filipinos and two other nationalities. i wasn't able to find out what the other two were. just down the dock a bit, there is another cruise liner
their citizens out of libya across the sea to malta and over land to tunisia and egypt. france is saying that one of its air force planes carried 165 french nationals from libya to paris on thursday. britain says it helped nearly 400 people get out. mostly british nationals. it had several flights scheduled to leave libya on thursday, and a navy frigate was also tasked with taking more than 200 people to malta. china's state-run news agency says 12,000 chinese have been evacuated over the past few days. most of them worked for chinese companies doing business in libya. >>> the exodus of libyans is prompting a lot of concern both in the middle east and in europe. right now there's no telling just how much worse things could get. the u.n.'s refugee chief spoke to us about that. >> these people flee a war in libya, then they are truly refugees. they need to be granted protection according to international law. we need to make sure in tunisia, also egypt, doors are opened to them. it's impossible to predict the figures. it's impossible to predict how many people will be affected. depends on the polit
in malta. they have asked pilots to strike the city, but they refuse, because they couldn't strike their own people. so they handed their planes in malta. so he's running out of options. more people are joining the revolution every day, military officers, generals in the army are supporting the people. he's losing his best supporters. it's only a matter of time. >> thank you for talking to us. i know it's a great risk. we'll continue to talk with you in the days ahead. thank you. >>> i want to bring in ben wedeman now in libya, foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty and professor fouad ajami. ben, we've seen these remarkable crowds today in benghazi where you are, rallying in support of people in tripoli. as we heard from the people in tripoli, it is another story all together. are people in benghazi in close contact with people in tripoli? and can they do anything to influence events on the ground there? >> reporter: very close contact. they're in very close contact. in fact, people are constantly handing me phones of their relatives in tripoli to talk to them, to gather inf
citizens of libya by air. nbc's martin fletcher is live in malta. martin, explain, how many more americans are waiting to get out? >> reporter: not many, thomas. there's a petroleum charter plane that went in yesterday to tripoli to bring out evacuees from libya, and i'm told there's only one american on board. the number 90 has been used in the last couple days, 90 americans in libya who still want to go out. there are about 3,000 other libyan americans who have asked to be evacuated, but there appears on to be just a few left. the british said they would help evacuate americans still left there. behind me, of course, there's tens of thousands of other people trying to get out of libya, too. this boat behind me, for instance, this is an italian cruise ship that arrived here in the dock in malta about three hours ago. on board, there's 2,000 evacuees, people picked up from libya escaping the violence, five nationalities on board. i was told south koreans, brazilians, portuguese, and then the chap i was talking to didn't know the other nationalities, but 2,000 people. they'll be taken off t
. >>> a high seas ferry chartered by the u.s. government finally arrived on the island of malta last night, carrying over 300 evacuees from libya, including almost 200 americans. it had been stuck in the tripoli harbor since wednesday because of rough water and high winds in the area. about 40 of the americans arriving in malta were government officials, including staff from the u.s. embassy at tripoli. the charter plane also left libya on friday with the rest of the u.s. diplomatic personnel. >>> back to our main story around here, certainly the weather, the flakes flying overnight, and the cold. >> you know, it started this morning, workers told me they thought it was christmas. they got up to see the snow and there wasn't any. >> a little disappointing. had you to travel to see a lot of it. >> but it was cold. >> some flakes flying overnight, if you happened to catch them. >> for those hardy folks who stayed up overnight, they did see a few snowflakes and it will continue over the highcountry to our south, through the morning hours here, winding down, as we are left with very cold tempe
came out on a chartered plane, others, what you're looking at here took a ferry from tripoli to malta. other countries are also evacuating their citizens. libyan leader moammar gadhafi warned that protesters may not have seen the worst yet. he vowed to escalate the violence if demonstrations just don't stop. this is what we saw is on the streets of tripoli yesterday. it was quite a scene. security forces and in some cases foreign mercenaries are facing off with the protesters in and around the capital city. diana, we saw the emotional scene there as hundreds of americans got off that ferry. a safe landing for them from libya. where are they now? >> a lot of them are in hotels. some of them are already on the plane to their final destination. a lot of them at the airport. so all mixed up really. it's a rainy day here in malta and they're trying to make final arrangements o to finally get home. i was there waiting for that ferry to talk to them all. from tripoli to malta. here's a look at what they told me then. >> reporter: it finally enters the port. onboard, more than 300 people reli
them are arriving here in malta. because of bad weather it had been stranded in tripoli. the libyan capital is the last on hold for khaddafi who made a surprise appearance in public today. on libya's state-run television, patriotic songs and celebrations from a pro khaddafi crowd in union square. their leader and c'mon. >> you have to sing and dance, sing and dance. >>pam: then he urged them to exterminate the enemies. >> we will repel them. >>pam: khaddafi son said his family will never leave. >> i will live and die and libya. plan b is to live and die and libya. >>pam: today the ambassador to the u.s. call for his overthrow. >> we want him to be out of our life. >>pam: libyas un and deceit displays the flag of the old the libyan monarchy the same flight as been adopted by the rebels who now control most of libya's major cities. good off the green flag is still flying in tripoli protected by a port of some 6000 loyalists. in many of them african mercenaries. >> this is we get there they start shooting there we can get to the streets. they start shooting. >>pam: amateur video posted
, great britain was able to evacuate 64 people to malta on a military plane. france flew 165 citizens to paris on an air force blane from central libya and russia evacuated some of its citizens to moscow. the state department insists it really is bad weather. we've been unlucky one officials tells cnn. as soon as the weather clears, they say they'll have the ferry out of there, and are hoping for another charter plane in on friday. wolf? >> you know, i've been told, maybe suv the exact number, there are thousands of american citizens in libya right snow, 150 or 180 that may be on this ferry. that's a relatively small number of all the americans who are in libya. >> it is. we are told there's about 6,000 americans, most of those are dual nationals, those are people who have passports for the united states and passports for libya, but if you look at ex-pats, and a lot of them work for oil companies, there are about 600 of them. now, it's unclear exactly how many want to get out, and as you know, a lot of chaos, but those are the numbers, wolf. >> but it's also important to remember if y
for malta. 167 u.s. citizens and other foreigners got out passengers are expected to arrive in malta are around 2:00 p.m. eastern time. the latest developments on the middle east unrest is one click away. for the latest, visit our website, wbaltv.com, click on national news. see if you qualify for earned income credit in this afternoon's consumer alert. coming up, how repealed is helping you stomach the sting at the gas station. first, dramatic video of the first tense moments when the earthquake rocked new zealand. the latest is next. >> four young children are dead after being swept away in a flooded creek in south western kentucky. an amish family of seven were traveling by horse and buggy when their buggy was overturned by rushing waters. the four children range in age from five months to 11 years and three were siblings. two adults and three other children managed to escape. a dramatic scene when a car slammed into a parked police cruiser. one officer parked behind a mother after midnight thursday and a woman crashed into the first police car at the impact sent the second office
and say, wow, really good to see the union jack. >> in a few hours, they will be in malta. for most of them, it cannot come soon enough. bbc news, benghazi. >> president obama has called leaders to discuss the response to the crisis in libya. andrew north has more details. >> the americans are saying they're trying to coordinate their response to the crisis, but there were few details given in the white house statement on these phone calls, saying that, again, condemning what is going on, also saying they were looking at the possibility of humanitarian assistance, but no more specifics on the question of what kind of direct action they could take to try and stop and gaddafi's forces from attacking protesters, which is causing so much concern and outrage around the world. a word that president obama has used himself. here in the u.s., one of the concerns now is the impact on gasoline prices. the oil price now has risen significantly, well above $100 per barrel. the u.s. does not import oil from libya. because of the risks to libyan oil supplies, that is driving up prices. gas prices
. they are expected to have 200 evacuees on board from 50 different countries and atlanta in malta. >> you may be able to hear the engines are rolling in the background. in the last few minutes, they have shown up at the docks. you may hear that as well. after more than 30 hours shutting off the eastern capital of benghazi, going 300 miles across the east. but me give you a sense of what i see around me at the moment. there are just below the docs five or six ambulances, there are used the 30 or 40 ambulance crew in high-visibility jackets. there are two structures ready to take some of these chronically sick passengers that are on board. there are a lot of people who suffer from the high seas. we are talking about a journey that was expected to have docked here 12 hours ago. the seas were so problematic, a lot of people are quite sick. the children on board -- they had been kept entertained. the navy crew is lining up on the decks at the moment. we have seen a number of people popping out. it appears to be passengers that are leaking. 120 foreign nationals made up of citizens from 20 different countr
on the island of malta. and miguel marquez is there hearing their stories. miguel, good morning. >> reporter: dan, that long-awaited ferry is finally here in malta, after three days in a libyan port. rough seas to get here. about eight hours in total. many got sick on that ferry crossing over. they are here, though. they are very pleased to be here. we met a teacher. and a professional basketball player on that boat. some of them will be returning home. some will be staying here to see how things shake out. the ferry operator says the ferries have returned to tripoli. and one of them is chartered by a private company. but the other is available. companies out there have employees that want to get out of libya, they can contact the ferry here. and they can try to make that happen. bianna? >> miguel, thank you. >>> joining us from malta are two americans just made it out of libya. dave peterson is a contractor. and amir is a professional basketball player, playing for his local libyan team. dave, i want to begin with you. we've been hearing reports of how harrowing that boat ride was. it was o
their escape from the chaos in libya. the ferry arrived at the port in malta after being stuck for three days. ivan, pretty dramatic stuff there. and the testimony coming from these people even more dramatic. >> reporter: that's right. and it seems to be part of a broader plan to basically evacuate all of the u.s. diplomats from the u.s. embassy in tripoli. just ahead of a statement from the white house, piers, imposing sanctions on what's left of the gadhafi regime. what we saw here were several hundred -- more than 300 passengers arriving on a ferry boat that had been waiting for two nights in the tripoli harbor to try to brave very stormy seas to come here. it is the first of a number of vessels that are expected throughout the night here as the kpi dus. the stories of massacres taking place from friends. take a listen -- >> i feel for the people who are still there and who didn't get a chance to get out because it's chaos. >> very, very distressing. >> reporter: -- people leaving their loved ones behind. >> i feel for the people who are still there and who didn't get a chance to get out b
of items, the first is in mamoriam for frank malia who was born in malta where he married lucy borg and began their family with the birth of their daughter, carmen. he brought the family to san francisco. he was a happy, positive, cheerful person. those who got to know frank knew he was -- they always had a friend in him, someone they can count on. his word was truly his bond. frank had five children who grew up in and around san francisco and his sons, ron and al, had been operating successful businesses here in the city and county of san francisco. frank worked on the docks of san francisco for more than 30 years as a longshoreman where he worked s t
with americans evacuated from libya has arrived in malta. >> reporter: this is the end of the long road out of libya, the ferry carrying at least 167 americans and more than 100 others fleeing the violence finally arrived in malta. passengers walked off the ship after having spent days on board. >> i feel totally torn. i feel for the people who are still there and who didn't get a chance to get out because it's chaos. >> reporter: they boarded on wednesday hoping to escape the fighting that's gripping the capital city of tripoli. but the seas were too rough for the small ferry to cross the mediterranean, so it stayed in port under heavy guard. as the ship neared the dock, a u.s. charter flight took off from tripoli carrying more americans to istanbul. with evacuations under way, the white house is taking a stronger stand. the u.s. shut down embassy operations in tripoli and is moving forward with tough sanctions against libya. >> we are initiating a series of steps to pressure the regime in libya to stop killing its own people. >> reporter: so far, the white house has stopped short of calli
or kmits suicide. more than 200 americans were evacuated from libya today, most by ferry to malta, others on a charter flight to turkey. we have a team of cbs news correspondents in the region. first kelly cobiella in tripoli. kelly, i understand it was quite an ordeal just getting into the city. >> reporter: katie, we were held at the airport for about two hours before government agents drove us to the hotel. inside the terminal, it is absolute chaos. people are lying around in dirty blankets. most of them are foreign nationals who came here to work and now can't leave. the workers inside the airport are wearing masks because they're worried about infectious diseases. and the people on the inside are the lucky ones. outside the terminal, thousands, possibly tens of thousands, are desperate to leave, sleeping in the rain, surrounded by garbage, with no food or water. soldiers carrying whips and sticks keep them in line. almost as soon as we started filming, the police ordered us to stop. these are the scenes they want to us show the world-- hundreds of qaddafi supporters loudly cheering o
and brought them to safety on the small island nation of malta. harry smith is there this evening with first-person stories of americans who escaped from the turmoil. >> reporter: britain used cargo planes to airlift several hundred oilfield workers out of the desert areas of libya today. the planes landed here in malta, where a ferry, paid for by the u.s. state department, docked last night, delivering americans and others from the chaos of tripoli. among them, diane and dennis harris from canton, ohio, who always dreamed of living and teaching abroad. six months into a two-year commitment in libya, it was all they had hoped for. >> a blast. it has been a grand adventure. so this was our retirement plan. >> yeah. >> reporter: that is, until last sunday, when the qaddafi regime's response to the protests turned ugly. they didn't see it. they heard it. >> you could hear a lot of machine gun fire. they were very quick, repetitious automatic weapons being fired-- >> it was all around us. >> reporter: days of frustration followed. their flights kept getting canceled. the ferry was their only way
to leave the island of malta, or to the island nation of malta. there are approximately 600 americans in libya. meanwhile, libyan leader moammar gadhafi has called on his supporters to rally today, and to strike back at protesters. gadhafi has already unleashed security forces in a brutal attack on those who opposed him. he says he will fight to the last drop of blood. andy clark reports from cairo. >> reporter: raging gun battles in the streets of tripoli. these pictures which surfaced on the internet appear to show control of the capital is still very much in play. on libyan state tv, the country's embattled leader moammar gadhafi gave a rambling speech from the ruins of his former home, which was bombed by the u.s. in 1986. the reason, apparently to show that he is the real patriot. >> translator: when this place was bombed, here, at my home, and my children were fighting then, where were you rats? where were you men with beards? where were you? you were with america. >> reporter: gadhafi went on to say he'll never leave libya. and intends to die as a martyr. but libya seems to be
half of them americans out of libya. now, they are safely in malta. judith is the director of the school in libya. she was on the ferry and joins us by phone from malta. judith, good morning to you. did you sleep any better last night than in recent days? >> good morning. yes, absolutely. i slept better and longer, which was the optimum. i'm feeling very refreshed this morning. >> were you concerned you weren't going to be able to get out? i know the ferry was delayed due to weather. what was it like, the anticipation to leave libya? >> caller: things deteriorated quickly. i met sunday afternoon and we opted to continue running the american school because we didn't feel like there was eminent threat. most everything going on was away from us. things going on in tripoli. we opted to keep the school open. two hours after that, the phones went down. when i got home, i heard protests in our suburbs. i have, you know, 24 teachers spread out over maybe a seven-mile radius in different villages. the thought of not being able to get to them was horrific to me. the phones went back
ferry with more than 300 people arrived safely in malta friday evening. thousands more are fleeing libya. >>> let's go to diana who joins us live from malta. what is the latest on the evacuees and the americans? >> reporter: hi, randi. malta is a key evacuation point, as you said. that ferry continuing, many americans, 300 people in total arriving last night. since then two other major arrivals of a british ship with 200 people and a chinese chartered cruise with 2,200 chinese workers coming from ben gazi. all of these people are trying to make travel arrangements home. the chinese government has chartered four jumbo jets and half of those chinese workers will have flown home to beijing by the end of the day. a lot of the americans are already at the airport, some already some in hotels. all of that organized by the embassy. we're also hearing that air malta, which has been flying in and out of tripoli for the last five days bringing a lot of people back that way has decided to cancel its flights in and out because of the deteriorating situation. we're expecting two more catamarans to co
to arrive to help more americans escape. nbc's martin fletcher is live in malta where the american evacuees are expected to arrive very shortly. martin, you've been waiting for days. they were waiting for days just to get out and the conditions could not have been very good. there were no beds as i understand it on that ferry with more than 300 people. >> that's right, andrea. it must have been terrible. they've been on the ferry for two and a half days straight. they were told to go on the ferry local time, 9:00 wednesday morning. now they finally made it. at least they're out now. they'll be arriving in malta, they're going to be docking here actually in about an hour if they're on schedule. that is going to be such a relief. it was impossible to find out what the conditions were like on the boat. nbc did get through to one passenger. i'd like to read to you what the passenger called norma said on the ferry talking about the conditions. he said, we can report that everyone is coping well on the boat. people are considerate and gracious she writes. she said the embassy and ferry staff have
of americans trying desperately to flee the upheaval in libya. those evacuees is arrived in malta yesterday on a ferry after high seas delayed the trip. today they are all breathing a collective sigh of relief. martin fletcher has the very latest from malta. good morning. >> reporter: there's a veritable ar mad da of warships in the region ready to take them from libya going back and forwards. this british warship arrived very recently. they're just beginning to off load and now turkish warships, british, italian, german, french all in the area going back and forth between malta and libya and crete taking off evacuees. there was some confusion whether or not all the american who's wanted to leave had left libya. last night, 167 americans came. more than 100 went to istanbul in turkey by charter flight. a state department said all the american who'sen waed to leave had left. but now it appears that there's 90 americans still stranded in libya who want to leave and were not able to make it either to the ferry to catch the ship that came to malta last night or go to the airport to get the plan
it was a long and harrowing escape from tripoli to malta by ferry. the u.s. chartered maria dolores. cbs news correspondent harry smith is live from malta with the latest. good morning, harry. >> rebecca, it's interesting. it's about a 220-mile trip from tripoli to here in malta. but for those americans trying to get out of libya, it just as well be a world away, and while they didn't get home, getting here to malta is the next best thing. weary and relieved. after two days of waiting for the seas to calm, 338 people poured off a ferry from tripoli late last night. among them, 183 americans. >> it was a very difficult ride back home. a lot of people were getting sick. we spent 2 1/2 nights sleeping on the boat without a shower. but it was -- we all -- there was no bellyaching. everybody got along very, very well. just glad to be back. >> the ferry, arranged by the american embassy, was the only sure way out for many, because the tripoli airport was overwhelmed. >> i had two flights bought and neither one left. so they were all canceled before we got there. the ferry was a great deal for us. w
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